Your Fall 2020 Options
Issue 5
By now you are aware that education at the University of Maryland this fall will involve a mix of in-person, online, and blended education formats; however, students should expect that many of their classes will be virtual. We understand how disappointing this may be for you after all the planning you’ve done to prepare for your time at UMD.
Today’s Tip: Review Your Options for Fall 2020

This Tip of the Week will explore what options you have as a newly admitted F-1 student for the Fall 2020 term. It will also cover how ISSS will be notified of your choice so that we can make any necessary adjustments to your immigration documents. 
Challenges to Consider

International students are facing unprecedented obstacles for arriving in the U.S. this year. As more information becomes available, we will continue to keep you informed and will regularly update our Pre-Arrival FAQ During COVID-19 page. Keep in mind the following factors when making plans for Fall 2020:

  • Most U.S. Embassies and Consulates remain closed at this time and have not announced plans to reopen. Though some visa offices are accepting appointments, we are receiving reports that these appointments are not being honored.
  • There are many travel restrictions still in place that do not permit an individual to enter the U.S. 
  • The CDC has provided guidance that individuals arriving from international travel should remain self-isolated for 14 days upon arrival in the U.S. This will have a drastic impact on your ability to acclimate to the U.S. college experience.  
  • The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has not yet issued guidance for the fall, but most likely will not allow new students to enter the U.S. if they are enrolled only in online courses. If your fall courses are all online, you must plan to remain outside the U.S. for Fall 2020. Once SEVP issues guidance for the fall term, we will update our Pre-Arrival FAQs and communicate the information in the Tip of the Week and ISSS Newsletter publications.
Your Options
Most new students will have at least one of the following options available to them for Fall 2020. The criteria listed below each option indicate the minimum requirements for an option to be available to you.

It is your responsibility to reach out to your academic advisor (for undergraduate students) or your academic department (for graduate students) to learn about fall course enrollment or deferral offerings as some options may not be available to you. Once you have that information you can complete the ISSS Fall 2020 Enrollment Intent form (see details below). 
Option 1
Enroll Online for Fall 2020
from Outside the U.S.

  • Your program offers online classes
  • You have reliable access to campus IT resources (Canvas, GSuite, Zoom, Libraries, etc.)
Option 2
Defer Admission to a Future Term

  • Your program allows for deferral to Spring or Fall 2021
Option 3
Attend UMD for Fall 2020 from Inside the U.S. 

  • You have a valid visa
  • You will be able to enter the U.S.
  • Your program WILL offer at least one of your courses face-to-face
  • You will have time to self-isolate and prepare for the start of the semester
Option 1: Enroll Online for Fall 2020 from Outside the U.S.

The hybrid environment has created a variety of class delivery styles. Some programs are choosing to move fully online for the Fall 2020 term. Students will not be allowed into the U.S. for a semester delivered only online. International students will have the opportunity to arrive in the U.S. for the Spring 2021 term.

Please note: If you are a student who is already in the U.S., such an F-1 transfer student or a student undergoing a change of status, at this point SEVP regulations will allow you to remain in the U.S. for online classes.

Option 2: Defer Admission to a Future Term

New graduate students that prefer to wait to start their program at UMD until a future semester are welcome to defer their admission. The deadline to defer your admission with the Graduate School is August 1, 2020.

  • Students choosing to defer to Spring 2021 will have their I-20 start dates modified to reflect their new arrival date.*  
  • Students choosing to defer to Fall 2021 will need to apply for a new I-20. Your new I-20 checklist will open in February of 2021.* 

*Students admitted to a 12-week term program who are not able to attend in person for Fall 2020 will need to defer to Fall 2021 or move to a fully online program.
Undergraduates who wish to defer their admission need to file a request to defer based on your inability to enter the U.S. during COVID-19. The deadline to request a deferral from Undergraduate Admissions is August 1, 2020. Undergraduate deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed. 

Option 3: Attend UMD for Fall 2020 from Inside the U.S.

F-1 visa in time for the Fall 2020 semester. However, there are other considerations regarding your ability to enter the U.S. for the Fall 2020 semester. If you are able to travel, review the following details about the arrival process. Students already in the U.S. and transferring from another school are welcome to remain in the U.S. and your I-20 will be activated. 

Please note: If you leave the U.S., your return to the U.S. may not be possible. As a transfer student, you have an “Initial Attendance” I-20 from UMD. For the spring COVID-19 emergency, SEVP did not permit “Initial Attendance” for students conducting only online courses. We are waiting for the Fall 2020 SEVP guidance.

ISSS Fall 2020 Enrollment Intent Form
Depending on your chosen plan for Fall 2020, ISSS may need to adjust your I-20/DS-2019 start date. In order to collect information from students, ISSS will launch a new electronic form titled “Fall 2020 Enrollment Intent form.” Watch out for our emails letting you know the form is live!

This form will be added to your iTerp checklist on July 1 . You will have until July 31 to inform us of your Fall 2020 plan. Academic departments will need to approve your form, confirming they can accommodate your choice.
Upcoming Events
Graduate Student Life
Thursday, July 2, 9 a.m. ET
Register here

Incoming Graduate students are invited to join us for a webinar overview of Graduate student life at UMD. We'll share ways you can stay engaged and connected with the campus and other students throughout your graduate school journey.
Summer Virtual Coffee Hours
Join us every Thursday of the summer semester for International Zoom Coffee Hour, a weekly opportunity for UMD’s international students and scholars to meet faculty, staff, and other students from around the university. Everyone is invited!
We have Terps all over the world and to accommodate different time zones, we will alternate between a 9 a.m. and a 3 p.m. ET meeting time each week.  

Thursday , July 2 , 3 p.m. ET
Register here

Thursday, July 9, 9 a.m. ET
Register here
Virtual Meet & Greet with IOLs

Tuesday, July 14, 9 a.m. ET
Register here

Thursday, July 16, 10 a.m. ET
This summer, newly admitted students will have an opportunity to talk with International Orientation Leaders in small group virtual sessions. You will be able to ask questions about what it is like to study with UMD, get tips and advice on how to make the most of your time, and get to know current and newly admitted students ahead of the fall semester!
In Case You Missed It
 Review the recording from a virtual presentation on June 24, 2020, with William Zachariah Mundy, attorney, and Director for the Graduate Student Legal Aid Office, where he discussed best practices in leasing in the U.S.

Review the recording from a virtual walk-through on June 26, 2020, on how to find off-campus housing at UMD. Presented by Jennifer Ruth Lindstrom, Manager for Housing Partnerships, Off-Campus Housing Services.
Missed a Tip of the Week?
You can find previous Tips of the Week on our website by clicking here !
We hope that you find these emails informative and helpful. You are receiving
them because you have been accepted to the University of Maryland for the Fall
2020 semester. If you do not intend to enroll at UMD and would like to stop receiving ISSS emails, please inform ISSS via your iTerp checklist, your department, and either the Graduate School (graduate students) or the undergraduate admissions office (undergraduate students) that you decline your admission.